by Lawrence J. Smith, Special Contributor to RCNN
CHARLESTON – A Parkersburg counselor previously convicted for embezzlement is among the speakers at a conference co-sponsored by the West Virginia State Police focused on curbing trauma in children who witness crime.
Yesterday, the Handle with Care Conference began at the Charleston Civic Center. The purpose of the conference, according to a brochure, is to provide attendees the resources to “focus on a trauma-informed response to child maltreatment and children’s exposure to violence.”
The three-day event features “[s]essions,,, includ[ing] topics on the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of childhood treatment and family violence.” Along with the State Police, it is co-sponsored by the West Virginia Center for Children’s Justice, a unit of WVSP, the state Department of Health and Human Resources and its Bureau for Health and Health Facilities, the state Department of Education and the West Virginia Disabilities Council.
Speaking at one of the breakout sessions late Wednesday is Felicia Lynn Davis Bush, the founder and executive director of Harmony Mental Health Inc., a non-profit mental health and social services management agency, The topic of the session is “The Therapist is IN,“
According the brochure, Bush, 53, along with Megan Lyon, a former Kanawha County elementary school teacher who now runs her own wellness company, will instruct attendees about “clarify[ing] the roles of school counselor (social worker, psychologist) and the mental health practitioner as they work together to provide trauma-informed therapeutic services in a school based setting.”
Prior to going into private practice, Bush’s biography on the brochure says she counseled, and educated people about domestic violence. This included a stint at the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office with its victim services center.
Also, she is the vice-chairwoman of the West Virginians Against Violence Committee, an ad-hoc group that makes recommendations to the governor for programs funded by the Violence Against Women, and Victims of Crime acts.
Before beginning her advocacy work, Bush was convicted in 2000 for embezzlement. According to court records, while working as his office manager, Bush stole over $150,000 from Dr. Mark A.Delli-Gatti, a Parkersburg dentist.
For her crime, she was ordered to serve an indeterminate 2-10 year sentence, and placed in the Pruntytown Correctional Center in Taylor County. Over the objection of Dr. Delli-Getti, records show Bush was released on parole after serving the initial two years.
When questioned about Bush’s inclusion in the conference as a convicted felon, Andrea Darr, WVCCJ’s director, was caught-off guard. After saying that conference speakers are selected by WVCCJ’s planning committee from people “either we know personally or are referred to us, Darr deferred any further comment about Bush until she could inquire about her prior conviction.
She did not return a follow-up phone call left with her Wednesday morning.